Monday, June 11, 2012

What I Didn't Learn From My Father

My dad never asks for help.

And in many ways it was always admirable, he is a true handyman and mr. fixit and everything. He is the first person you go to for help. But he doesn't ask for help. He is not the kind of man that would ask somebody to take him to emergency, he would just drag his bleeding carcass there.

And I'm sure this has informed my borderline masochistic resilience aspect of my personality. But life is so much easier asking for help. Life is so much easier with a wingman, with contacts, with favors. We are ultimately social animals, everything our civilization has achieved is the product of cooperation, favors, trade.

My dad does this, just heavily biased towards giving, almost never taking. My dad subsequently is not the kind of man that founds a great nation:

"If you want a friend, let them do you a favor." ~ Ben Franklin.

And it's true. You can be generous just by accepting somebodies generosity. The second highest form of flattery (after imitation) is asking somebodies opinion. People by and large love to help, love to feel useful.

And by the nature of helping and being useful it makes life so much easier.

My dad is by no means, not even close, not even in the same country as being a 'failure as a father' but his resistence and aversion to recieving help is as probably as close as he's come to failing me as a role model. Fortunately giving me a priveleged background in education and socio-economic conditions really drummed in 'it's not what you know it's who you know.' It's probably the most valuable thing one gets out of private school.

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